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Just like riding a bike

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Classroom training; e-learning; workshops; workbooks; on job training; coaching; shadowing; mentoring...the number of ways we can develop our people is growing all of the time. it changes to suit the business; the budget; and generally time...but does it ever change to suit the way that people learn?

Generally we all learn in different ways. We question, understand, practice, analyse, make mistakes and try again.

Think back to the way you learnt how to tie your shoe laces, ride a bike, or even read. For the most part it was trial and error. We weren't just shown and expected to be able to succeed straight away, we were supported as we practiced until we got it, and once that happened - we never forgot!!

Training in the workplace should adopt the same principles. Yes, we should be taught something and given the opportunity to discuss and understand how it works in reality the why's and the benefits, but then we should be given the time to practice the skills back in the workplace with the support of our manager.

This last part is often what gets missed. Far too often people are expected to be the experts once they have signed to say they have received some training - when in actual fact it's just the beginning of the process. Habits don't just happen overnight - and that is just what we're trying to achieve. Real behaviour change is just like riding a bike...you'll never forget it.

Barbara Nixon

Synaptic Change Ltd

Management Development

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